It was Monday. The day of the week that most people dread, but as a restaurateur, it's the start of my weekend. The Northern California weather was beautiful and staying at home wasting the 85 degrees would be a sin. Though I had evening plans, there was a half day to kill and eating oysters in Tomales Bay while catching some rays sounded like a perfect way to do it.
I kidnapped Peter from work and we headed out towards Tomales Bay for our first ever visit to Hog Island Oyster Co. Talk about taking for granted what is in your own backyard.
Hog Island Oyster farm has been raising premium quality oysters since 1983 and the Farm in Marshall, California has quickly become a favorite hot spot for the outdoor eating of these so-called aphrodisiacs.
The oyster bar, AKA 'The Boat', offered a small selection of shucked oysters, local snacks, beer and wine.
They were armed with one cashier and a full-time shucker. The shucker was really busy servicing all the hungry folks.
There was also an option to book a picnic table in advance and shuck-your-own oysters.
Seeing the unspontaneous picnickers, with their bright blue protective glove and oyster knife, shucking away gave me a tinge of jealousy since "shucking oysters" is on my bucket list. Would it have been rude to ask to shuck just one of theirs?
We ordered a half dozen of sweet water raw oysters, four chipotle bourbon BBQ oysters, a hunk of chorizo, a small block of lavender cheese, a box of crackers, one beer and a Pellegrino. $51. Ouch.
Though I am not typically a raw oyster fan, these tasted like the mildest sea water. Even so, I only ate a quarter of one. Enough. Give me one of the barbecue bourbon style. Did I mention bourbon? They were so large and meaty that I had to cut them with a knife. Slurping them whole would had only led to dribble down my chin. Very uncouth.
The Spanish chorizo and Cypress Grove Chevre cheese made for nice accouterments, but did not steal the main show.
All the tables in the picnic area are communal, which is alright by me, I like most people, especially the ones who bring their own wine and like to share.
Many thanks to our new Fresno friends who have good taste in California Syrah.
We spent just over three hours noshing, drinking, chatting with our new pals and getting lobster-style sunburns.
With my newly acquired experience, I now know that on the next visit to Hog Island Oyster Farm, and there will be a next time, it is essential to pack my own sharable wine, sunscreen and a blue glove to shuck an oyster.
Have you been to Hog Island Oyster Co.? Have you ever shucked an oyster?